Working out at the gym is great, but at a certain point, running in place and lifting heavy things starts to get repetitive. How many bench presses does one person really need to do in a lifetime? Hiking can be just the thing to mix up a boring workout routine–you get to enjoy nature while getting great exercise. Fall’s an especially good time to hike because the leaves are changing and the temperatures are mild.
But don’t go wandering into the woods just yet–in order to get the most out of your hike, you need to make sure you have all the essential equipment. Below are seven things you shouldn’t hit the trail without.
Unless you’re an exceptionally talented juggler you don’t want to go for a hike without a backpack. Find one that is comfortable with some weight put in it.
Personal Touch: My husband and I love to have picnics on our hikes – we find it extremely romantic! Keeping that in mind when he was looking for wedding anniversary ideas, he found a unique hiking picnic backpack. We use it on every trip and store our snacks and sometimes a small bottle of wine for our resting time.
“Sunscreen?” you might be saying. “Why would I need sunscreen in the fall?” Sure, it’s cool and overcast a lot of the time, but whenever you spend a long time outdoors, especially at higher elevations, you run the risk of sunburn. And don’t think that permanent September-to-May cloud cover will protect you–clouds let plenty of UV radiation through.
Just trust me on this one.
Counting calories? Don’t. You want to bring healthy food, but you also want food that fits a lot of energy into a small package (remember that trail mix is called trail mix for a reason). Also, if you’re going on a hike with other people, make sure to coordinate who brings what.
Bugs are the worst, and there will inevitably be a billion of them, and they will spend the entire hike trying to fly into your mouth or eyes. Douse yourself in bug spray to keep those suckers at bay.
First Aid Kit
Maybe there aren’t any bears in the city forest, but hiking isn’t without more mundane risks. There’s always the chance of slipping and falling, and cuts, scrapes and minor injuries come with the territory. Prepare yourself for a possible accident by packing a first aid kit that includes, at the very least, Band Aids, basic medications and blister pads.
Don’t leave home without your camera. The gorgeous fall foliage, the spectacular view from the top of the mountain, the expression on your friend’s face after he falls into a stream–a camera will allow you to capture the special moments that you want to remember for a lifetime!